Super Volunteer – Daisy Nuñez
CAMP ERIN® BUDDY, hospice advocate and Hospice of Santa Cruz County’s newest board member, Daisy Nuñez is the trifecta of volunteers. She calls herself a “Hopeoligist.” Daisy wears that mantle proudly – formerly as a socio-emotional counselor, and now as an academic counselor at Watsonville High School. A trusted ally, Daisy helps students build inner resilience and helps them thrive by connecting them to community resources like Camp Erin – a free weekend bereavement camp for youth who are grieving the death of a loved one. “I know that when you have a good support system, you can do anything,” says Daisy.
Together with Hospice of Santa Cruz County staff, Daisy has co-facilitated grief support groups for students and staff. Two years ago, she also became a Camp Erin volunteer. Intimately familiar with the powerful connections made and healing that can happen at Camp, Daisy encourages kids to attend– she helps families feel safe about sending their children.
“When a teen loses a parent or loved one, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, to withdraw from their friends, and to lose interest in school. When you’ve had your heart broken, it can affect a family’s spiritual, emotional, and physical health. I’m here to encourage students to ask for help, to receive it, and to be present. There’s no “right” way to grieve,” says Daisy. “Grief is a natural response to loss. It can also be a beautiful way to honor the person you’ve loved and lost.”
“Grandma Vicky left me an example of how to live a meaningful life. I am who I am because of my parents and my grandmother.”
Honoring her supportive parents and her beloved grandmother Victoria “Vicky” Bersamin Quintero, who died at the age of 100, is at the heart of her commitment to service. It’s her living legacy of love. “Grandma Vicky left me an example of how to live a meaningful life. I am who I am because of my parents and my grandmother,” Daisy states.
Photo Credit: Audra Day
As a board member and ambassador, Daisy brings a personal perspective on equity and a focus to uplift often-unheard voices. She sees families as caregivers and is dedicated to bringing our communities together to support everyone’s right to live and die with dignity. “I see myself as a bridge between hospice and the Latinx community. I want to demystify what hospice is so that people know about us before they need us.”
She leans on her daily practice of gratitude and strong faith to guide her work in the community. Daisy has been instrumental in expanding the reach of our bilingual Interfaith Memorial. Each year families gather for a candle lighting and remembrance of their loved ones.
“I was so moved by the Interfaith Memorial. People came with big photos, ashes, and mementos of the people they’ve lost,” says Daisy. “Sharing our stories is so powerful. I’m glad to be a part of bringing this to my community. I know what we do matters.”